Thursday, March 19, 2015


I finished reading GREEN EYES by Maxwell Grant (Walter Gibson) the other night. The version I read is pictured above. It's the Pyramid paperback published in the early '70s with a terrific cover painting by the great Jim Steranko.

GREEN EYES was originally published on October 1st, 1932. It was the fifteenth Shadow novel and it shows that Gibson was still working out the details of the Shadow mythos. In this one, the murder of a federal agent on a train leads The Shadow and G-Man Cleve Burke to San Francisco's Chinatown to investigate the mysterious secret society Wu Fan. Led by the sinister Ling Soo, the Wu Fan is a front for a criminal operation, whose mastermind, Green Eyes, pulls all of the strings.

Unlike other Shadow adventures, this one takes place almost entirely in San Francisco and none of the Shadow's usual agents and operatives appear. The Chinese villains are straight out of the horribly racist "Yellow Peril" variety that was found in much of the pulp fiction of the late 19th and early 20th century. It's politically incorrect but you have to put this story into context and recognize when it was written.

If you can overlook that, GREEN EYES is a good pulp thriller. There are multiple disguises, secret passageways and gun battles. The Shadow acquits himself as an escape artist to rival Houdini, freeing himself from a fiendish deathtrap before engaging in a fierce, final shootout aboard a Chinese junk anchored in San Francisco Bay.

Recommended for fans of pulp fiction.


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